Signs your Dog has Overheated & How to Cool Them Off


Has your dog overheated, are they dehydrated? What signs to look for and how to cool them off safely.

It is incredibly important to know and watch for the signs your dog exhibits when overheating.  Especially during the HOT summer months.  Catching the signs of overheating early can save your dog’s life.  Equally important is what to do next!  What is the proper and effective way to cool off your dog?  A dog can overheat in the summers of Austin, Tx in a flash and it’s life-threatening.  Signs your dog is overheating and how to cool them off – let’s dive in so you are prepared.

Signs your Dog is Overheating:

  • Excessive panting
  • Hyperventilation
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Disoriented, wobbly, off-balance
  • Pale gums
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Tounge over halfway out the mouth & excessive salvation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or rectal bleeding

Signs your dog is Dehydrated:

  • Sunken in eyes
  • Loss of elasticity. Move the skin on their face – does it go back as fast as it normally does?
  • Dry nose
  • Dry sticky gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Lethargic

Ways to prevent your dog from overheating:

  • Stick to the shade
  • Take dog walks by creek or lake so they can jump in
  • Bring enough water with you to drink and get dog wet
  • Purchase a Cooling Vest 
  • Take several short dog walks instead of one long one
  • Take your outdoor adventures early in the morning

Why are dogs more susceptible to overheating?

They don’t have the ability to sweat.  The glands humans have to produce sweat, which is our primary cooling system, don’t exist in their bodies.  The primary way a dog cools themselves is by panting.  The mouth is what, 15% of the entire body give or take?  Not very efficient.  Brachycephalic dogs (short snout: IE Bulldogs, Boston Terrier, Pug, & Boxer) are even less efficient in cooling off because of their short snouts.  It is incredibly important to know these signs a dog shows when overheating to catch, stop, and cool them off before their life is in danger.  You may save your dog’s life.

That being said dogs are INCREDIBLY resilient and can push themselves to great lengths.  That’s one of the reasons it’s important for us to watch for the signs of overheating because we can often spot them before the dog realizes they are hurting themselves.

The efficient way to cool off a dog that has overheated:

Something important to note – the most sensitive areas of a dog are its paws and belly.

  • Get in the air conditioning stat

    Even if you don’t make it all the way home – maybe step into a lobby that has AC and a hard cool floor

  • Get access to cool water

    Not cold, you don’t want to shock them.  If you have a bowl of water dip their feet in the water then pour the rest over their belly.  If you have a towel – soak it in the water and pat it on the belly and feet of the dog.  Focus on the feet and belly first and repeatedly!  Then do the face.  You can wet their back if you have water to spare.  I repeat the paws and stomach are the places to focus on, then the face.  Basically what you are doing with the water is mimicking sweat.  The water evaporating off the dog cools them down

  • Offer water to drink

    They may not take it at first, but be patient and let them take it when they are ready.  I have offered ice water.  Cooling them off doesn’t happen in an instant.  It will take a few minutes to bring down their core body temperature

I don’t mean for this blog entry to be gloom and doom!  Please continue to have outside fun with your dog during the summer months!  My gosh I know they just love it!  There are simply some important things to be aware of when enjoying outside dog walks with your fur baby.

Have fun + stay safe + and if you ever need care for your fur baby please give us a call!  We LOVE caring for the fur babies of Austin!!

#Austinslocalandreliabledogwalkers #Austindogwalkers #dogsarefamily